Windstorm chaos as Penang Umno tower-top plunges (Video)


A strong windstorm caused havoc in Penang this evening as trees were uprooted and a tower structure fell off the top of the state Umno building. Has Penang just received its first taste of climate change?

Consider this an early warning of climate change. For far too long, climate change has not been at the forefront of the national agenda, and it wasn’t even an election issue. Somehow we think we are immune while we blissfully continue to disregard the effects of our unsustainable model of development.

Take a good look at this photo and see in this a sign of things to come.

Someone also needs to check who was responsible for maintaining the roof-top structure, instead of brushing this off as an act of God.

Strong winds swept across the state this evening as rain fell while fallen leaves danced in the air. The scene was absolutely surreal. Off the coast near the Esplanade, angry, menacing waves crashed against the coastal embankment.

Blog reader Desmond reports:

1) Crazy rain with very strong wind just happened. 6.20pm to 6.45pm. My area Tanjung Tokong just saw personally two houses roofs being ripped off their zinc covering below my apartment at the Ivory project area in Fettes Park.

2) Last two days, morning workers heading to work from 8.00am onwards, travelling to Bayan Baru from Jelutong Highway or Gelugor road to Bayan Baru… crawling and heavy jam… Why..? Any one knows…?

I noticed a tree along Weld Quay had fallen down near the GPO, covering half the road. On the mainland, a tree had fallen down on the main Bagan Luar Road near the Standard Chartered Bank and the entire road was closed.

READ MORE:  Poll: Does Penang need more shopping malls?

In Bagan Ajam in Butterworth, the roofs of sheds near Taman Tun Dr Awang were blown off as a pasar malam was called off.

On the channel, ferries swayed from side to side, even after the winds had subsided.

Our hearts go out to those who perished in this storm.

And we still want to clear-cut our hill-land for property development above 76 metres?

tunglang reminds us of what some people have done in the name of ‘development’ and what we have lost:

Chin [email protected] Ferringhi with multiple waterfalls & cool water rivers was among the first victims of ‘privatized’ public recreation access. The beach @ Jubilee Camp, Teluk Bahang almost suffered similar fate. Next could be Muka Head beach with an emerald cove. (Some developer) may want to turn it into an exclusive billionaires’ hideaway by the sea from prying eyes.

Soon there will be no beaches, no hill tracks, no jungles, no clear water rivers, not even monkeys for Penangites to enjoy.

Trespassers Warning Sign: No Money, No Walk Here.

How greedy can some people get?

Well, Nature is making its presence felt.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.


  1. Chin Farm was once an everybody’s favourite haunt, day & night! You got to take a refreshing bath (after a swim in the salty sea) from a crystal clear jungle stream opposite the Teluk Bahang beach just across the road. I just loved the afternoon clear blue sky framed by swaying green coconut trees & the sunset horizon punctuated by surreal lighthouse beam…deep…poetic…groovy…
    I hear you man!

  2. I dig that Chin Farm was mentioned by Tunglang. So when can we get back our waterfall like the good old days. This is Nature’s Theme Park at FOC. Not some man-made-corporate-related-artifical-nature-resort-wannabe that charges money. Peace to all and P…-off to those in cahoots with money-making-greedy-capitalistic muthas.

    • Penang’s Nature wonders are dwindling/disappearing year by year.
      What used to be an open access concept of park (your vehicles), enjoy & freshen up is but a rare privilege of yesteryears.
      Chin Farm was once an everybody’s favourite haunt, day & night! Jubilee Camp was another favourite of Penangites. You got to take a refreshing bath (after a swim in the salty sea) from a crystal clear jungle stream opposite the Teluk Bahang beach just across the road. I just loved the afternoon clear blue sky framed by swaying green coconut trees & the sunset horizon punctuated by surreal lighthouse beam.
      Now if you go to Youth Park on week days, the artificial pools are even crowded to the brim. People are craving for nature recreational spots, but our politicians attached with developers’ puppet strings made of money are taking them away, one by one.

      Belum Rainforest bunians, your Nature haven of wonders & mystery is compelling more than ever.

  3. Anil, Penang tasted Haarp last Thursday evening. Haarp clouds was seen all over Penang since Februrary 2013. On 4th and 5thJune was circular rainbow sighted over Penang until about 12pm it dissappeares. We still hve Haarp focus at us until today. I was expecting fish would float and die from Haarp as what Iran has been facing. Butit came form of MiniTornado last week. Majority Malaysians ignorant of Haarp its worldwide facilities and consequences. Oklahoma Tornado was result of Haarp also many disasters past years all over the world caused by Haarp. Also our Penanv sky has been sprayed by what was that lasting 10 to 15minutes. Sad some people resort to accuse blame blame here there thinking that no one in Penang knows what is Haarp. Anil, let create awareness of Haarp.
    Thank you.

  4. questions…was the concrete spire even necessary…should the lightning arrestor have been fixed to the big parapet wall behind the spire…why ia a multi storey building built so close to the road…shlould there have been a podium to set back the tower block…was it an act of nature or a fault of design

    • If one study carefully the prewar houses in inner city George Town, one can often notice a tiny one foot ‘Y’ shape wire jutting above the upper roof line. It is no more than 1 centimetre thick as an effective yet economically simple lightning rod.
      Isn’t it cheaper & safer to install than a humongous lightning arrester of concrete & steel?

  5. But here (in Penang Island) we have a Cosmopolitan Penang concept gullibly trying hard to mirror others’ cosmopolitan excesses without much consideration for the socio-economic realities & environment vulnerability. Questionable special projects benefiting the interest of a few richie going counter to “A Cleaner, Greener Penang” concept in great publicity blitz left us standing in mud wondering what double talk is echoing from Komtar Tower.
    We heard the talk: Whoever breaks the law will face the law.
    Does it include of whoever approved the hill projects in question?

    • Penang wanna be like Global City ?
      Just go New York and see they have a bog Central Park even Donald Trump dare not develop a concrete jungle there !
      WHY not turn relau hill top a scout heaven of open green lung ? ESCAPE at RM48 not every family can afford now that barang naik naik naik lagi !

      • The Big Question: Should we turn Penang into a ‘liveable place’ for (all strata of) Penangites or should we transform Penang into a global cosmopolitan for the rich & famous (eventually)?
        Anil, please pose this question for us to ponder introspectively.

        ESCAPE is just an added tourist attraction but the entrance price is way beyond the average Penangite families to enjoy at the expense/sacrifice of our water catchment natural asset. Who benefits the most besides creating some jobs?

        Creating a public nature adventure park like Sedim (Kedah) with free access for camping, trekking & a good afternoon picnic is much better & meaningful for Penangites. Private corporations can chip in with chalet rentals, bicycle rentals & kampung home-cooked meals at affordable prices. This will still attract tourists (local & foreign) to Penang.

  6. Thanks, Anil, for driving home the point. Anthropocentricity is what leads humans to worship the bogus gods of “Progress & Development” which only benefit a very tiny handful while bringing massive ruin to the natural environment & endless suffering to everybody else.

  7. From where I am, the Boroughs or Local Councils are responsible for the upkeep of trees on public streets and inversely the safety (and liability) the trees pose to the general public.

    Likewise, if such uprooting or trees crashing onto road users or pedestrians, the Council gets sued.

    Period checks are carried out to ensure safety and health of these trees. We want trees we need to care and give due attention to them.

    We cannot have all and everything. But when disasters happen, we then say “act of God” !

    All parties need to adopt a balance. All living things do die..if neglected !

  8. Is there any statistics on how many trees fell in Penang yesterday? Normally it is big news even if a couple fall. One traveller saw 14 fallen trees from Air Itam to Tg Tokong.

    The whole Penang might have 3-5 times more, or 50-100 trees fallen? What are the species? Are they mostly angsana? If so, is it because angsanas are more vulnerable, or are they just more numerous and older?

    It got me to think that MPPP has done a pretty good job trimming the trees in the past 2 months. Or there would be more mishaps. One tree that fell I saw was already properly trimmed. Only the gale was just too strong and the soil too soggy.

    • EXCELLENT observation saengch !!
      I thought of the same thing too.. and MPPP did a good job trimming lots of trees in recent weeks. I’m sure this would have prevented these same trees from falling down.

      And there MANY trees down.. hopefully someone from MPPP can keep count of them..

    • I hope the MPPP does that. And replace the fallen trees incorporating better planting techniques. Like you say, the water-logged condition of the soil totally contributed to the problem. MPPP or JKR (whoever is in charge of the trees in their area) should take note of this and look for ways to improve. Better drainage may not only prevent flash floods but may also help reduce the retention of water on our soil.

      • Another point is MPPP did recently remove many large, insecure, and illegal advertising boards. That was also a very good move in this hindsight. I saw at least 2 well-secured sign blown down or tilted – imagine what would happen to the large insecure ones.

        Still, MPPP needs to learn from this. The water drainage and soil things, however, sounds like it requires some sort of deeper, long-term technical study and coordination among government bodies. We can only have that if MPPP — probably in association with the botanical garden — and JKR are encouraged to be run professionally.

        Political competition and local election might help.

        The windstorm was indeed extraordinary. I know of one school and 2 luxury new townhouses (5-year old), which roofs were blown off — I mean those red TILE roof, not just zink roof. One tree inside a school compound was uprooted, in addition to other fallen branches.

        There are currently many loose branches and half-hanging plastic roofs/awnings around. So be careful if there is another strong storm in the next few weeks, before these owners remove them.

      • WELL SAID saengch !! It’s a time for both MPPP & JKR to work together, especially in the immediate task to clear any hanging or leftover branches or stumps.

        Nevertheless, understanding the “way & style” both agencies work may also help curb our expectations. MPPP have readily their own Landscape crew who would be adept at clearing branches.. and I believe they also have some contract workers to help them out in the manual tasks.

        As for JKR, sometimes works like tree-cutting are “tendered” out which at worse, will take time. Even if they have their own tree-cutting crews, their work ethics leaves much food to munch on !! They will come in perhaps a group of 12 with a “head”, A crane will be there for 2 cutters to go up with the chain-saw.. but where are the rest of the 10 members of the crew ?? Sitting gingerly at the side doing nothing !! Trust me.. I’ve seen these happened before..

      • You are right Soon Yew. If you drive around often enough you see that for such work there 8-12 workers. 2 will be doing work, 3 will be there to teach them, another 3 will be supervising,2 will be observing to learn, 2 more will be supervising and sometimes two will guide traffic. I won’t place the blame solely on JKR because I have seen this happen across all govt depts in Malaysia, whether state or federal. This lazy and unproductive culture has to stop if we want to progress. Where response to complaints are concerned however, I must say that MPPP has so far performed much better than JKR.

  9. Hi everyone,

    There is an URGENCY now to check all roof-top installations, especially on high rise buildings, as the weather forecast is that Pg and other neighbouring states are going to face such powerful storms until September! PREVENTION is better than CURE!

  10. Isn’t there a rumour that UMNO’s antenna was made to be tall for some fengshui reason, as it aligns straight geographically with some other landmarks? Now that the antenna is down …

  11. The concept of Climate Change is a hoax foisted on the people of the world to bring about the carbon tax!

    What happened here was probably a result of HAARP – a weapon of mass-destruction used by the cabal to create chaos. Remember the Medan tsunami that happened on one Boxing Day many years back?

    Currently there’s a war going on unseen by most that will ultimately result in a change of the world’s financial system and the cabal (the unseen unelected few rulers of the world) who is controlling it is doing their damnest to prevent it from happening. Once the world’s financial system is re-set they will no longer have a stranglehold on humanity. The sheeple today have absolutely no inkling that they have been enslaved all this while in a open prison, living in a fake matrix.

    The cabal are still dreaming of their New World Order through ORDO AB CHOU which is translated to be ORDER OUT OF CHAOS.

    Don’t buy into the cabal’s lies. Don’t buy into Climate Change. Don’t buy into their fear-generating ….but wake up to know to do the right thing.

    How can a few rule so many and getting away with murder? Go check out what David Icke means when he says: “For we are many and they are few.”


  12. God will punish those who do evil. How did the antenae fell down? Has it been securely fixed to the building to withstand such nature onslaught? Was it properly inspected before it was certified safe? or is it put up according to safety standards?

  13. Have we understood the message, loud, clear & with some devastation & a death?
    Even the medium itself (antenna) couldn’t take the delivery.
    But the men in the street suffer the consequence of unsustainable development greed.
    Komtar Tower antennas should be the next delivery point for Nature’s warning of red line.
    Cheers Kopi-O kau kau to Nature’s “don’t play, play”.

    • tunglang
      with mother nature in anger all over the world now (eg flood in Europe) and samsengs robbing street foodies i think many will stay out of open air makan spots for fear of being hurt !
      BTW, how come no more food comments ? At least you are not at Madras lane now (havoc scene last nite) better still be at Belum nature ????

      • Just ‘visited’ my old childhood playground – Madras Lane this afternoon.
        The whole junction of Macalister Road, Madras Lane, Jalan Zainal Abidin & Kek Chuan Road looked shockingly like a disaster area with numerous trucks, excavators & sand piles.

        A total difference from the 60s-70s laid-back afternoon inner city George Town filled with heavenly street food aroma & hawkers’ calls that I loved so much during my teens. And it was this very junction where I got my regular morning STAR newspapers & evening bottled red syrup drinks from the roadside mamak stalls beside the Chin Kang Hoey Kuan.

        My condolence to the victims, one of whom body is still lodged under the road below 5 metres deep. It was a heavy atmosphere (I am psychic) in the cloudy-gloomy afternoon, standing behind Polis barricade with disbelieving others to think for his family & of his wife calling him ‘not to hide’.

        Is this one of the ‘deadly’ price of Cosmopolitan Penang, part of which started in 1997 with an incongruous architecture smacked right in the middle of old world charm George Town?

        It will take a while for me to get rid of this ‘Macalister Road nightmare’, perhaps it may help to mentally channel it to the Penang State Museum nearby for old memory depository.

  14. This tree is very near the stretch of Jalan Masjid Negeri (Green Lane) undergoing the Upgrade Project which got hit with criticism last year for the trees removed. Now if I were staying in this area, I would actually be thankful for the trees removed that takes away the fear that one would have gone through last night seeing the tree branches sway vigorously, blown by the windstorm which hit Penang !!

    • My question would now be..
      DO we persist in fighting for preservation of ALL trees just for the sake of preserving the environment ??

      and I’m not talking of preservation of trees on a hillslope which will obviously have its detrimental effects..

    • Are u suggesting that we chop off all trees just because there is a risk that they will fall? This is what Malaysians do best. We like to blame God for everything that happens. If a landslide occurs, act of god. If a ramp collapses, act of god, if there are flash floods, act of god, if the mast of umno building collapses, act of god and now if a tree collapses, also an act of god. When can we start being responsible for the things we do? I have always said there are proper ways to do things and there are wrong ways. Have u seen how trees are cared for and maintained in Singapore? And many of them are easily twice to three times the size of the trees along Green Lane. How is it that they do not have problems like us? Could it be because god dislikes Pg as compared to Sg and so creates more ‘acts of god’ in Pg? Or could it be that we do everything the wrong way. In Sg the Parks Board oversees every single tree there, when they are planted, root barriers are built, anchors are made and the correct tree is planted at the correct depth to minimise mishaps. The trees are monitor constantly, trimmed when necessary and treated to ensure they are always healthy. In Pg, they plant anything (even plants that shed so much) and they simply dig a hole for it, even if it is just two feet from the road, there are no reserves or green pockets and the plants sometimes sit on a narrow strip which are less than 1 metre wide. Then we blame god because it is so convenient. Who even advises them? Why can’t they learn something from their many trips abroad?

      Penangites must be the first to show to all of Malaysia that we, like other cities in the developed world, can implement best practices and follow them. I call on the state govt to set up a Parks, Gardens and Greenery Board to oversee all such matters and to at least minimise if not prevent completely such incidents.

      • Are you sure that’s what I’m suggesting ??
        “..chop off all trees just because there is a risk that they will fall?”

        Surely that is far from what I am implying here !! What I said above is..
        DO we persist in fighting for preservation of ALL trees just for the sake of preserving the environment ??

        Because there are groups of people who INSIST that trees CANNOT be cut !! Yet these very people are not in the line of fire when these trees (that may be prone to fall due to disease or internal rotting that’s unseen) start to sway dangerously right in front of your house !!

        What I am saying is there are times if a tree has to be cut, then it has to be cut. If it can be saved, by all means save it. BUT we cannot be dogmatic about issues and follow a narrow path.

      • Nobody in their right mind would say that trees cannot be cut for safety reasons such as when a tree has decayed. If a tree is decayed it can be removed and re-planting can be done. People object only when trees have to be sacrificed for road works such as widening. In Pg, when roads are widened, not only are trees axed, but even pedestrian walkways are sacrificed for the benefit of motorists. If a tree has to be moved from an area to facilitate construction, it is alright, so long as re-planting of shady trees are done at the same location after construction is completed. Right now, we axe the big trees and once construction is over, we replace them with so called ornamental shrubs which do not provide any shade for pedestrians and which do little to give us a green canopy effect that Penangites cherish. And this has been happening for a long time so you cannot blame people for protesting. If you take a walk around the major roads in town you will see that the area is bare and lacks sidewalks unlike the case in Sg, where trees are kept and sidewalks and roads built with the trees in mind. I have attached a link to show you how well planned trees and wide sidewalks are in Sg, something which should and can be replicated in Pg, at least on all roads where we are spending money upgrading (might as well do it 100% right this time). They built their roads and sidewalks around the trees, not replace them with shrubs. And the flora are maintained so well that nobody dies because of a tree. Remember Sg is also an Island with limited land and an even larger population. Now compare the link I have attached with the roads we have in George Town and one knows how much improvement we can make to our beloved Island. The photos you have so kindly attached also shows how badly planted the trees along Green Lane were compared to those in my link. The tree that fell, barely had enough soil to grip onto.

      • This link shows how big trees can be preserved or introduced by the side and in between roads without compromising on road width. Penang can study how Sg has made it work and do the same for our current plans such as the three highways and tunnel.

        Compare this to our Gottlieb Road which was just upgraded last year without much thought for greening it

        So much more could have been done to green the place like in the examples shown. The state govt know that greening can be done because it has done so on some stretches of Datuk Keramat and Carnarvon road where credit should be given. But their implementation does not seem co-ordinated as evident in their other projects like the one in Gottlieb road.

      • You are right Kevin !! The way the trees are planted and taken care off is simply 1st CLASS in Sg !!! I like the ample space for the big trees to sit on at the side walk.. and smaller trees planted in the narrower road divider. THANKS for the links !! 🙂

        One thing that classically separates the way things are run in Sg and Pg (or Mas as a whole) is the quality of Town Planners and eventual staff who takes care of trees in the Local Council. If expertise and merit is overlooked in placement of staff in decision-making positions, then it will be hard to progress as well as in Sg.

        Just an added comment on the situation in Green Lane and Gottlieb Road.. I’m sure you will remember how lush the greenery was at Green Lane (at least) back in the 70s.. where you could enjoy a bicycle ride from Gelugor to PFS without fear under the canopy of the trees with enough green grass buffer at the sides. The Town Planners then may have thought it was adequate.

        However, progress & development leading to a spike in demographic movement had then lead to a need of a wider road.. thus Green Lane was no longer a lane but like a trunk road with a speed limit of 80 km/h (which is VERY fast with residential houses next to it !!)

        Same goes with the latest changes you see at Gottlieb Rd.. the urgent need to have an extra lane to relieve traffic congestion from the various schools nearby, notably PCGHS necessitated a wider road at the expense of any trees.. This led to a limited ground buffer that prevented any further planting of trees at the present moment..

        A sad price that we pay.. at this present day 🙁

      • Understand what you are trying to say. The MPPP has to place more emphasis on hiring quality and qualified people for the various jobs. Now that funding is less of a problem (MPPP has has a surplus every year since 2008), more can be spent on making Pg more liveable, more so for the poor who have no means of luxury other than their environment and public amenities. Experts have to be roped in to advice on how trees and greenery can be incorporated into a road upgrade without sacrificing road lanes. For a start, ensure that all new development (Light, World City, Southbay, Tg Pinang etc) provides adequate reserves for trees, walkways, bicycle lanes and future expansion so we do not face such a problem again. I am sure it is not an unreasonable requirement considering that developers are making billions every year in Pg. In fact it should add value to their project. There will of course be some groups/NGOs which are extreme and who do not look at things in a logical manner and who think they represent everyone and know everything. We cannot please 100% of the people but so long as we follow international standards and best practice, chances are we will succeed.

    • What ‘botak’ thinking is this.
      Just b’cos one tree fell on a corner house’s gate in Greenlane during yesterday’s windstorm does it qualifies for total annihilation of all trees along the road to facilitate more volume of cars?
      It’s just like wishing Penang gets amphibious transport vessels (those used for transporting tanks & army 4WD vehicles) to replace those iconic ferries, which also rocked in the seas during yesterday storm!
      Why not ask all telcos to take down all antennas ‘feared’ as unsafe during another windstorm to come?
      B’cos we gleefully removed trees, we inadvertently contribute to climate change that resulted in the rage of windstorms.
      There will be more Nature’s rage to come. Be prepared.

      • “B’cos we gleefully removed trees, we inadvertently contribute to climate change that resulted in the rage of windstorms.”

        IF we remove MANY trees and contribute to climate change, specifically raising temperatures in a specific locality.. this then causes air to rise up leading to a reduced air pressure pocket, which attracts air flow from high pressure areas elsewhere. The bigger the air pressure difference, the stronger the air flow or wind velocities.

        IF you are on the track of blaming chopping trees for this flow of thought, then fingers should be pointed towards China because that is where the winds are moving too. If you recall your Geography, we are in middle of the “Monsun Barat-Daya” which occurs from May-Oct with winds coming in from the Indian Ocean right across Sumatera into west coast of Semenanjung Malaysia, heading to the inland areas of China. In fact, due to the Earth’s rotation, the wind direction changes becoming a South-East Monsoon heading into the coast of China leading to the hurricane season in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan in this same May-Oct months.

      • I think Soon Yew is talking about ‘The Butterfly Effect’?

        In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state.

  15. Now the blame will be on the govt for the clearing of land for development. ??? Clearing of land alone here wont caused such an effect. What happened is a worldwide phenomenon of development through out the world that cause hot air to rises that results in changes that is now moving worldwide causing such massive destruction. This one is a minor one compared to some that happen oversea

    • All the more to do our part of caring for Nature instead of following the worldly crowd of destroying the environment with unchecked greed in the name of progress. Karma effects will deal with those guilty of killing Nature, whether worldwide phenomena or not.
      For Penangites, this one is no minor but scary.

    • I see only selfishness in such a b… statement. Only those who crave for properties just for the sake of wealth investment would say that. The Penang I knew when I was young is never the same as of today. Many developers lavishly replace the trees and lands with unnecessary bungalows and mansions, as if there were many super-rich expats and investors would eye on them and buy. Yeah right! I don’t see anyone’s presence in most of the houses whenever I passed by them. I call it the “Extravaganza” with extra waste of life!!! Reducing the trees means increasing the environment temperature you moron!!!Moreover the ratio between a car and a Malaysian is 1 to 1. You can now imagine how many cars travel around Penang in a single day. Don’t tai-chi away the blame to the world climate change just for the sake of those big pockets who pay you!!! I don’t think this is a minor issue at all. It is a wake-up call for Malaysians before it is too late!!!

  16. Climate change havoc to SUSTAIN if the people still selfishly ignore the pain inflicted upon mother nature like carbon footprints (penangites, use public transport more don’t pollute more !)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here